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Learn About Seven Successful Agile Team Practices

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 5/29/2013

What team practices in Agile can be applied to both small scale and large scale operations? Find out seven great Agile team practices in this article by Ronda Bowen.

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    Agile Problems

    There are many problems in Agile projects that result from poor planning or from ineffective team strategies. For example, one common problem is a lack of risk management practices. Agile projects also often lack clear planning and focus. However, with Agile team practices that scale, many of the problems project managers and teams face during agile projects can be avoided.

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    1. Two-Level Tracking and Planning

    During the Agile project process, there needs to be two levels of planning since the Agile process is broken up into shorter parts. The first level of planning is the release level. The release level of planning gets the product ready for sales and the end users. There is also the iteration level, where the planning is more detailed and deals with requirements and test cases.

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    2. More Frequent and Smaller Releases

    Because Agile projects are meant to be quick and small, releases need to be more frequent and smaller than in other types of project management efforts. By receiving frequent customer feedback, every 90 days on average, the project scope is redefined and the quality is improved.

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    3. Integration Occurs Continuously

    Continuous integration is a mandatory component of agile practices. Continuous integration means that the program is built each day and source code is checked and tested each day during the project. By testing and checking the product continuously, room for error is greatly minimized.

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    4. Reflection and Adaptation on a Regular Schedule

    At periodic, scheduled intervals, it is important that the Agile team pause to reflect on process results and see how they can adapt to create higher quality in their projects. By taking time for reflection and adaptation on a regular schedule, many of the reasons that agile projects fail can be thwarted. Without taking time to reflect and adapt processes in an agile product so that they work better, it can be hard to know what might need to be fixed.

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    5. The Define/Build/Test Team

    The define/build/test team is made up of between eight and ten members composed mainly of a product designer, testers, a product owner, and testers. Each person in the team has a specific task and performs tasks only in his sphere of influence. The purpose of all team members is to build a functional software program.

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    6. Iteration Mastering

    Agile projects are completed in short spurts of activity. Each of the work periods, often two-weeks long, keeps the system building project in check. By keeping the project short, common productivity problems such as procrastination can be eliminated. The iteration is monitored through short stand up meetings lasting no more than fifteen minutes where each person presents a short 1 to 2 minute report on the status of the project. Through keeping on top of things, the project can move forward on a solid iteration foundation.

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    7. Testing Concurrently

    When creating code in an Agile project, you should know that all written code is also tested code. Tests must be performed either before or during the code writing process. The testers are not the only responsible parties for Agile code, developers are also responsible for writing Agile code tests. Finally, all tests should be automated so that the product can be released without delay.

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